Cloud9 has recently been rising far much higher in the North American scene, especially after dropping Alec "Slemmy" White for rising star Timothy "autimatic" Ta. Here we will be discussing how Cloud9 has risen in recent times, as well as what they may have to offer later on into the later months of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
Due to a turn of unfortunate events, Slemmy ended up departing the North American roster all by himself. With this, the rest of the roster did not have a 5th player ready and they set off to search. There were many different players that people in the Counter-Strike community thought about, but most, if not all members didn’t think that they would be picking up autimatic from the former Team SoloMid roster with former North American legend Kory "Semphis" Friesen. With the departure of autimatic, TSM now have to use Justin "just9n" Ortiz as a stand-in for the time being. As for Slemmy, he is currently teamless. Seeing as how Cloud9 used Slemmy as an IGL, it’s time for Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert to take over as the team’s leader once again.
Cloud9 with autimatic have been completely bulldozing through the North American side of the ESL Pro League Season 4 (EPL S4). With a dominant 14-0 lead in the online bracket, they have proved themselves to be a very decent team together with confident wins over other teams such as Immortals and Liquid. Seeing this undefeated record really brings up two very important questions. One being “Does this make Cloud9 an online team that still won’t find anything on LAN?” and the other being “Is this a short-lived success until teams get used to their performance?”. Both questions will be hard to answer due to the team being very fresh in terms of time spent together, but we will attempt to find the answers hidden in their recent matches.
ESL Pro League
On the day of picking up autimatic, they had two matches against long time North American rivals, Team Liquid. To many people’s surprise, they picked up both matches with ease and were up 2-0 in the EPL already. The scorelines were 16-8 on de_cobblestone and 16-10 on de_dust2. These were also some of the first matches for Liquid to play with new Danish teammate Jacob 'Pimp' Winneche, so many were still not 100% sure if autimatic was the correct choice for Cloud9. Going forward, they had to face fellow Brazilian team Immortals to see if they are truly in better shape. They once again managed to win both matches with ease. This proceeded until they were up 14-0 in the league.
Northern Arena 2016
Despite their godlike performances online, people were still skeptical to see how the North American team would hold up on LAN events, where skill and competition is taking place at a much higher level. Although the tournament itself isn’t featuring teams of the highest level such as Na’Vi, SK or G2, it’s still a valid indicator of seeing whether or not Cloud9 is indeed coming back to their former summer 2015 form.
Coming into the group stage, they managed to pick up two fairly easy wins against ACE and Rogue 16-5 and 16-9 respectively. These two wins were enough to put them at the top of their group and into the playoffs.
Fellow North American rivals CLG also made it out of their group by first losing to NRG in a Bo1, and then beating Synthetik and NRG. Going into the quarter-finals, CLG had their hopes up, but got demolished by the newly formed North American train that is Cloud9. The first map was de_mirage and was chosen by CLG. They seemed to be very confident, but all of this changed when they got into the server. Cloud9 ended up securing the map with little to no resistance coming from CLG seeing as how they won 16-2. The second map was de_train and it had a little bit more coming out from the CLG side, despite still not being able to take a map against Cloud9. The final score was 16-11.
Moving on towards the semi-finals, Cloud9 met Heroic, one of the top 3 Danish teams at the moment. It was a 3 map series, where Heroic took de_overpass 16-11. This wasn’t very surprising since the map has never been one of Cloud9’s favourites, while Heroic have almost always been strong on it. Heading into de_train, things looked quite a bit more promising for the Americans as they have proven themselves to have nice cohesion throughout many different occasions on the map. They ended up taking the map very convincingly, 16-2. The final map was de_mirage, another one that consistently plays well in Cloud9’s favour. The Americans had a wild first half as they managed to obtain a nice 12-3 scoreline on the CT side. Once the teams switched sides, Heroic tried their hardest to pull some sort of a comeback against Cloud9, but it wasn’t enough and the Americans won the map 16-9.
Cloud9 with autimatic seem to easily be the top American team at the moment and their online and LAN performances are currently enough to justify them as a steady top 10 team with close to zero fluctuations. We just have to wait and see if Cloud9 will continue their strides and if they can actually come close to winning some major events.